History of Current Film Project

Letter Bugger is a PSA about the plague of litter defacing our world. It has a definite horror/slasher sensibly. The time for Iron Eyes Cody hippie guilt has long passed. The current generation doesn't give a damn about guilt or nature. When I see litter I want to force feed it to the litterer. Maybe when they see my little film they will understand just how close I and others are to attacking them in the street for there mindless despoiling. You have been warned.


Planned power outage for upgrade to the power grid today. Or that's what they tell me. I need to shut down my system. See you when it is over.


I am prepping another night of filming. I dug out a flood light and a baby flood light. Still have a baby spot in the shed somewhere but not sure I have the will to find it right now. The baby flood needs a new bulb. Also burned out a bulb in my mini fill light. I've got a back up but I need to find it. It's like everything is getting in the way right now. That's filmmaking. You just have to keep swimming.


I did an animation test last night. The difference between an animation test and a finished scene; everything starts out as a finished scene but when it doesn't work we call it a test. The water is working but the lighting and camera blocking were off. Also had some movement in my new camera mount. Like I said, an animation test.


The boom camera rig is not at 100% yet. I am setting it aside. Not going to use it for this end shot I am prepping anyway. Not the right shot. It is for more of an opening shot. Working on the lighting and lighting jell frame and tripod. Have a flood light and a baby spot that I need to dig out of the shed. Okay the front shed, I have two sheds. Went out and saw "Finding Dory" with my wife yesterday. It is one of the best things Pixar has done in a long time. Not as good as "Finding Nemo" but that is a very high bar. The short "Piper" was amazing. It is so Pixar give-them-a-shot-at-it amazing short animation.


Getting ready to set up a big end scene with a number of "after" reformed litterers like this guy in the wheelchair. Sometimes teaching can be painful.

7/1/16 : 2nd post

Happy 100th birthday Olivia De Havilland. A very gutsy lady who took on the Hollywood studio system and changed the way movies are made.

My wife and I have been watching a Julia Child baking show. My wife just made this amazing Fougasse from the show. I am good with savory cooking but my wife is the baker in the family.

Started on the camera boom rig.


Spent yesterday in mundane pursuits. I did pick up supplies for a camera rig that I am designing for my set.


Puppetoons or replacement animation for stop motion was invented by George Pal. It is simple and elegant and nobody thought of it before. Okay, he took it way too far with leg sets for walk cycles but it is a good tool to have so thank you George. I have been working on some replacement animation food sets from items I picked up at Daiso in their eraser art section.


Just about done with the little school girl. A few more details like work on her nose and we should be there. 6/27/16


WARNING: I was forced to watch 4 hours of Fox News Yesterday. This is a bit of a rant and gets into political absurdity
Yesterday was a complete waste. I got nothing done on my film at all. Friday my wife took her car in for an oil change. But it is never just an oil change. They always have a list of things that need doing that always cost between $500 to $700. This time we let them talk us into changing the timing belt because her car has just hit a hundred thousand miles and timing belts suck but are cheaper for the auto makers than timing chains. Long story short they blew the job and didn't replace the washer at the end of the crank shaft and had to redo the whole job Saturday. So I set in their waiting room listening to the stooges of an ultra conservative Australian on a TV set as they droned on and on about how the liberals are suppressing their free speech. The fact that this foreigner controls our news puts the lie to that. But All I can hear for four hours is that these "liberals" are not doing a very good job of suppressing these guys because they will not shut up. Any network news is the ninth pit of hell to me but Fox News (sic). I could feel my I.Q. slipping.

On an up note my cactus is in bloom. I grew this glory from a two inch dried cutting. Only took 30 years.

Started working on the bike riding school girl. Hope to animate her later this week.

6/24/16 : 2nd post

I forgot to mention that my Ladera Vista after school stop motion class also had a film in the CreActive International Open Film Festival (IOFF) in Bangladesh. Here is a Facebook posting about their film "Jump" Junior Hich School stop motion film comes in as semi-finalist in film festival.

Here is the rework on the bike for the school girl. Had to rebuild the peddles for the eyelet tie downs and then had to repair the bike which broke in two because in was made out of cheap die cast pot metal. Then had to build a long tie down that runs from the school girl's waist down to the ground.


Started prep on the school /bike girl armature and the bike. Build armatures for her pigtails. Also created upper and lower teeth. Had to rebuild the bike and create tie downs with a eye to hold the rod for the bike peddle. Trying to find a home for the trophy my elementary school animation students won. The program is in flex at the moment and there is a question as to where the prize should reside.

6/23/16 : 3rd post

6/23/16 : 2nd post

Making jewelry for stop motion puppets needs to be done with wire so that the beads can be animated. I am using phone wire or what would be called bell wire at your local hardware store. I remove the plastic coating from the wire and then string seed beads. I am using a size called Delicas that are the smallest seed bead. The cool thing about Delicas is that they are very small and work with my scale puppet but still have a large enough hole for the phone wire. And $24 worth of them will get you Manhattan.


Finished up the dreadlocks on the reworked puppet. He came out looking a little like Einstein. Need to dress him a little. Maybe some jewelry or something.


Spent some time at http://www.freesound.org/ this morning listening for school bells and skateboards. This is a great site that makes sound available to filmmakers and recording arts. They are so important to the creative community. If you don't know about them you should check them out.

Starting to work the rag picker's dreadlocks. Also put on a new mustache with gray wool that I am forming his dreadlocks with.


Reworking an old puppet as a trash picker with a little red (Radio Flyer) wagon. A lot of these people do a real service for a very small return. He is going to have grey dreadlocks and be one of the few heros of this story. I also removed his tie and opened his jacket. He started in some of my stop motion comics (Pickman's Model) and had a part in P.P.F. I have a mold of his face. He is designed from a photo of Robert W. Chambers. I have some latex work coming up in the next day or two. Also have the little school girl puppet to work on.


It is too hot to work outside on the set today. The clear clay is runny when it is this hot. Did a shaky cam tracking shot this morning before it got too beastly. Spent most of the day compositing. I have finish a rough cut on the last shot and a live action the base for the end titles. No, I am not going to post them here. Still too raw.

6/19/16 : 2nd post

There is this great little program I picked up back 3 computer systems ago that I port over every time I change computers. It is called NameWiz ($29.95) and it gives complete control of file renaming. Which is something you need in any filmmaking but more so in animation. I just added a 5 frames of hold (3 on the very end of second person POV and 2 after the cut to the front shot). This gives more of a hold on the trash can and makes it look like the skateboarder is throwing something away in said can. This is important to story because he is one of the main litterers at the beginning of the film. It is important to see that he has changed his ways after his fateful encounter with the Trash Hound.


Did some editing on the last 2 Skateboard tests. Went to bed last night thinking about the edits. Woke up and jumped on the computer after a great father's day breakfast of peach German pancake. It is starting to look like a real scene. Pulled in on the skateboarder bridge crossing because I was not happy with the water animation at that point in the shot. Cut 180 degrees to second person POV down the ramp. Over the top of the camera looks great. You cant tell that I am holding the puppet into the shot. Got the color right on the tie down patching compound. Can't really see the tie down holes. The only time I had to paint out tie downs was at the bottom of the ramp on the second person POV. Then cut back to for the end with the boarder coming at the camera for the finish. Think I'll put in more of a hold at the trash can.


Skateboard test today. Been working on patching tie down marks on the set while filming. I'm using this air dry Silicone product from Daiso. The trick is to match the color of the set. On the home cooking front I did 12 jars of rose hip jelly with my wife last night and 6 jars of red plum jam this morning.


I think I am going to be able to use this shot. It is an after shot of one of the litterers who has learned his lesson. The reflection is killer. I went too small on the water movement over the the waterfalls but the reflecting kind of makes it not matter. I will have to render it in full size in a proper format to be sure. Something I will set up before going to bed tonight.

6/16/16 : 3rd post

I ran this stop motion animation jam with the kids at Skyview Elementary School back on October 28th 2014. I have been putting it in festivals since 2015. It is about at the end of its festival life. It was a 3 hour jam that I edited into a video of the little better than 1 minute. Now it is ending its festival career by winning best film made by kids.

CreActive International Open Film Festival (IOFF)
Film made by kids

BEST AWARD for this category:

Skyview Elementary School First Animation
Directors : Samuel Bernal, Amyia Carder, Josh Harris, Deanna Hayes, Aundrea Hermosillo, Arthur Melina, Isabell Munoz, Jason Reynoso, Alicia Rios, Sammy Tlatenchi, Misael Tomas, Amber Whitaker
United States

JURY AWARD for this category:
Bust your windows Will Cournoyer Clements Canada

SPECIAL MENTION AWARD for this category:
Ana Nika Vahcic, Marko Bicanic Croatia

AWARD OF RECOGNITION for this category:
Joystick S. Irfan India


6/16/16 : 2nd post

I have animated water before but it can always be a female-dog. Less is more and it is hard to get the mind slowed down to the pace of water flowing in a creek. I always have to slow down through running a number of tests. I got the camera mount working at last. I mounted it to a block of wood that I anchor to the set with wood screws. There will be lots of use for the shaky cam rigs but this shot needs to be anchored in stone.


Tuesday, October 28th., 2014 at 9 in the morning at the Skyview Elementary School in Orange, California 12 elementary students ages 8 to 12 are introduced to animation in the form of a stop motion animation jam.

In just 3 hours using a down shooter stop motion animation rig, originally created for my 2007 ASIFA-Hollywood Stop Mo Expo, these students revel in the most pure from of animated creative play.

Here is their first ever animation all raw and primal and complete with over enthusiastic camera shakes. Every student is their own director. Their collaborations are free flowing and spontaneous. Their storytelling is the pure storytelling of kids and toys on the playground. This is magic and their little magic animation has gone on to appear in 5 festival in 4 countries. And today it got its first award from a festival, a festival in Bangladesh.

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